The changing landscape of travel
Smartphones are changing the way travellers plan, book and execute their trips. These equipments have slowly and steadily graduated from communication gadgets to travel advisors and companions.
Mobile devices were once just pieces of equipment that helped us connect with others. Today, they have become such an integral part of the way we live and breathe – not only do these provide entertainment and an immediate source of information, these have also changed the way we interact with people and the physical environment. Unsurprisingly, this has meant that the way people travel has changed – travellers are now able to discover places they want to go to and interact with the world, be it before, during or after they have gone on their trips.
It is clear upon analysing planning and booking trends on TripAdvisor that mobile usage continues to rise and shape the future. In India, 60 per cent of Internet users access it via their mobile phone* and as Internet users in India continue to grow, this is set to increase substantially in the coming years. Those who use their smartphone to plan or book their travel are the ones we call ‘Connected Travellers’.
Currently, 47 per cent of travellers in India are 'Connected Travellers.' This puts India in the 9th place globally for the highest proportion of travellers who are enabled by their mobile devices, leaving highly connected countries like the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan trailing in this category.
And research shows us mobile Apps are becoming a more popular channel for travellers to book their accommodation – TripBaro meter research showed the number of people using a mobile App to book their accommodation doubling from 2014 to 2015, and we anticipate this to continue rising year on year.
Our analysis reveals that those who booked via a mobile App were seen to be habitual users, with one in four (24 per cent) saying they would usually book via this channel. But what was most interesting was that Connected Travellers were twice as likely as global travellers to make travelrelated bookings via their mobile device. Almost 45 per cent of these savvy mobile travellers also use their smartphones to book activities for their trip, while only 28 per cent of global travellers do so.
The mobile phenomenon has also enabled these 'Connected Travellers' to use their smartphones whilst on their trip – turning their devices into real-time travel companions that they can turn to at any point. Forty four per cent said they brought them on trips to organise themselves more efficiently and even to book accommodations on the go (37 per cent). 72 per cent of these savvy travellers also used their smartphones to search for restaurants; 67 per cent to find things to do and 64 per cent to read reviews. This has given us a powerful way to connect directly with the traveller, delivering more value to both our users whilst on-thego and helping them discover and enjoy the places that they visit, making their trips special. Connected travel will continue to be at the forefront of travel and the industry should continue to look at ways to further enable the travel discovery of this group of travellers. I, for one, am certainly looking forward to all the amazing things that my ‘best friend’ will be able to do for me and my travels in the future.